Geoff Blaisdell joins us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots Podcast.
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Introducing Geoff Blaisdell
Geoff Blaisdell is our guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots Podcast.
He is a seasoned venture capitalist and angel investor, whose passion is turning dreams into thriving businesses.
With two decades of experience in the tech and finance world, they’ve been in the trenches of global corporations, gaining invaluable insights into what makes a business succeed.
But they didn’t keep this knowledge to themselves.
They founded Beyond Formation, a platform that equips founders at any stage with a game-changing blueprint for building robust businesses.
It’s not just about funding; it’s about practical, powerful systems that make ambitious goals attainable.
As if that weren’t enough, they walk the talk as the co-founder and CTO of Forum360, pioneering an analytics and behavioural science-driven platform for client engagement and sales.
How The Dots Joined Up For Geoff
Their track record includes key roles at industry giants, shaping the very software that drives investment management today.
From the lobster pound back in their coastal Maine hometown to towering offices in Manhattan, their journey has been nothing short of remarkable.
But they’ll tell you, working with start-ups is where their heart truly lies.
They’re here to help you get organized, get traction, get funded, and most importantly, get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey.
So what is about helping other people get business success that makes him smile?
And is there a key to both a start-up success and failure that everyone could learn as they build their futures?
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and start building together as we start joining up dots with Mr Geoff Blaisdell.
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Geoff Blaisdell such as:
We talk about the surprising concept of finding that Billy Joel has amazing business advice that can help us all as we age in life.
Why 100 million start-ups are being started in 2023 and why 90% of them will fail within 3 years.
Geoff opens up brilliantly about the fear of risk taking and why it doesn’t seem to be an issue when we are young.
And why “Go To Market” is THE SKILL that businesses and business owners have to have in their armoury as soon as possible.
How To Connect With Geoff
Return To The Top Of Geoff Blaisdell
If you enjoyed this episode with Geoff, why not check out other inspirational chat with Ben Guttman, Olly Richards, Jane Stein and the amazing Jack Canfield
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Geoff Blaisdell
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and wife you will, of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host David route from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:40]
Yeah, good morning to you. Welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you very much for being here. Well, our guest today on the show is a seasoned venture capitalists and angel investor, whose passion is turning dreams into thriving businesses with two decades of experience in the tech and finance world. He’s been in the trenches of global corporations gaining invaluable insights into what makes a business succeed. But he didn’t keep this knowledge to himself. Instead, he founded beyond formation, a platform that equips founders at any stage, we have a game changing blueprint for building robust businesses is not just about funding. It’s about practical, powerful systems that make ambitious goals attainable. And as if that weren’t enough. He also walks the talk as the co founder and CTO of fallen 360. Pioneering and analysis Hicks can’t even say analytics and behavioural science driven platform for client engagement and sales. his track record includes key roles or industry giants shaping the very software that drives investment management today, and from the lobster pound back in his coastal Maine hometown, to towering offices in Manhattan. His journey has been nothing short of remarkable. But he will tell you working with startups is where his heart truly lies. He’s here to help you get organised, get traction get funded, and most importantly, get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey. So what is it about helping other people get business success that makes him smile? And is there a key to both a start up success and failure that everyone could learn as they build their futures? Well, let’s find out as we start building together and start joining up dots with Mr. Geoff Blaisdell. Good morning, Jack.
Geoff Blaisdell [2:27]
I’m doing really well. Thank you for having me on your show. David,
David Ralph [2:30]
it’s lovely to have you here. So you are somebody that has got all the answers, wordy answers just given to you, Jeff, is it nature or nurture? Or have you gone through the journey of hard knocks?
Geoff Blaisdell [2:43]
Oh, well, I think the older I get, the fewer answers I probably have. And that’s that’s maybe that’s maybe one of one of the key I think, when I was certainly when I was younger, the probably I thought I had a higher percentage of the answers. And in that evolution throughout my career, to a place where maybe I have fewer of the answers. But in offer a little bit more insight is, has been has been enjoyable.
David Ralph [3:09]
I think that’s key, isn’t it? Because I’m moving into my mid 50s now, and I look at having conversations with people where I would have argued, I would argue Black was white and white was black when I was younger. And I remember Billy Joel writing a song called Shades of Grey when he said you know, as you get older, you’re kind of being I know you’re wrong, but I can see your point of view as well. So does that make it easier to build business success? Or is it harder when you can kind of see so many options now?
Geoff Blaisdell [3:43]
Well, I would I would say
I would say easier and I would certainly say more enjoyable I think and that that that Billy Joel reference is spot on. I think another one of these like Zen philosophies the beginner the beginner’s mind, and, and always approaching things as if you really starting starting from nothing. And that will put you in a position of asking questions, questioning a lot and and being open to learning. And so I think that is probably a key characteristic and a big part of that, you know, the black and white and certainly I was like that and I’m in my mid 50s now as well. And I do remember when I was a kid being very much the black and white and and life’s experiences have tended to moderate that. But I think one of the biggest advantages that if we talk about it advantages and and honestly, David I can’t tell you if it’s nurture nature, but this this desire to continue to learn and and I think the research shows that, that people generally stop or stop trying new things consistently when they’re in their 30s and it’s very hard if you ask individuals that, you know, no one would probably admit to this, but the research shows that people generally tend to do the same things think the same things eat the same things talk to the same people watch the same shows like 98% of the time or something crazy like that by the time they get into their 30s. And I think the key to a lot of maybe later stage success is just not being, you know, not having that mindset, like breaking away from that trying new things, expanding horizons and be willing to change, change is interesting. It’s another one of the things related to learning. Most people will say, Oh, I’m totally fine with change. But the research and the numbers would say otherwise. And so maybe some people are born with that, that capability to always be searching for the next thing. But it can also can also be learned and pursued and and I would say I’m probably closer to the latter than the former, I think, when I was a kid, I was a little more, you know, dogmatic. And, and I’ve, I’ve learned to try new things. And it’s scary. Don’t get me wrong,
David Ralph [6:00]
but you you still sound enthusiastic about life. You know, because I realised a few years ago, I was getting into that stage where if somebody had said to me, Look, I’ve got a secret gig for the Rolling Stones. It’s in London tonight, only 30 People are going to be in the audience. I’ve got a spare ticket, I would go Where are we going to park? And I realised that I was starting to look at obstacles instead of just going Yeah, great. Let’s make it happen. So is that one of the issues that hold people back with building businesses, but they look at the obstacles, or maybe it’s the case that they don’t look for the obstacles, and they just plough into it?
Geoff Blaisdell [6:39]
I think I read somewhere earlier this year that it and don’t quote me on this number, anyone but it’s something like 100 million startups will be created in the world this year. And of course, you can draw a wide net around what constitutes a startup and the world is a really big place. So it’s not inconceivable that 100 million people are starting up new ventures. And so I think that it’s probably a pretty broad spectrum across those two endpoints that that, you know, that that you mentioned, I think, so what if you look at later in life, and you know, I don’t like to think of 50s as being too late in life, I plan to, you know, at least live to be 100 or, you know, as Ray Kurzweil is planning, you know, live to the singularity when, when medical science figures it all out or something like that, but but, you know, kind of at, at this stage in life, probably the, the, the willingness to try something new, because think about all the experience we’ve gained, getting getting to this point in our life. And I think that’s, you know, that’s, that’s really what I’m trying to put out there is is is the experience, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t have all the answers, but by virtue of being on the planet for a fairly long period of time, in working in environments that have exposed me to this, the skills and the processes and these things that that I believe translate to all businesses that, you know, that’s, that’s been key, and I so I think that the advantage that older people have is probably the big advantage is the experience, the wisdom, we were talking about the the ability to see grace, the ability to maybe sit back and listen to other points of view, but the headwinds are, you know, are this inertia, this, you know, doing the same thing, doing the same thing, thinking the same thing, and, and that that’s, that becomes a habit and habits are hard to break. And so that’s the sort of the competing forces. So when you’re young, you know, that’s like the other thing you’re young you have all this time and no money. But I think when you’re young, also, most people probably are more willing to take risks when they’re when they’re young than when they’re old, despite the fact that they don’t maybe have the level of experience to back it up.
David Ralph [8:48]
Yeah, but I think the key thing this is interesting concept is because I think the key thing is, you don’t realise that it’s a risk when you’re younger, it’s just a thing. You know, I was saying to cute boy, I was saying to him on consequences. I said, you know, I used to go out at a weekend when I was younger in my 20s and stuff. You never knew where you were going to end up at the end of night. And if somebody said, Oh, we’re going off here you go, yeah, let’s do it. You know, and there was all that kind of spontaneity. And then slowly it becomes restrictive. And when we say it’s too risky there’s one of those three stages
Geoff Blaisdell [9:27]
Yeah, it’s sad I’m smiling to myself because you could be describing the way I you know, the way I grew up and they were honestly there are times when I look back at that and I’m not at this point in my life probably going to do with you know, a three day 50 establishment pub crawl or something like that. Even if I might have done that I couldn’t do it but but you know, if I’m if I’m looking back at my younger self, I know that if someone had told me someday you will find this intolerable I would have I couldn’t have caught I would have been able to comprehend that right? So You know, clearly there’s, there’s there’s probably some something going on physiologically in our brains as well, that, you know, that changes us in modern moderates us to some degree. And I don’t I, you know, there are times when I look back at my younger self and think why don’t I like that anymore, you know, things that I like to do whether, you know, whether it was maybe staying out late or going on a pub crawl, or, or you know, or other hobbies we had when we were younger, that kind of fade, by the way, so I’m
David Ralph [10:26]
gonna jump in, because you must have thought that and what what’s your answer then? Because I’m always watching a TV programme the other day that was in the 80s 1980s. It’s called the young ones. It was really big in the United Kingdom. Yes,
Geoff Blaisdell [10:39]
yes. Oh, I watched it. Oh, college. I remember. Nigel, right.
David Ralph [10:43]
Yeah, absolutely. It was Neil and Rick and Vivian. Yeah. And you had to know, every word of every episode. And it was brilliantly funny. And it was it was everything. And I watched it the other day on YouTube. It was rubbish. I looked at it. I don’t understand why I ever found this funny. So what is it? Do we actually change? Do we have more experience? So we’re more selective? What what do you think when you’re saying to yourself, why don’t I like going out and getting drunk as much as I did when I was younger? What was your answer?
Geoff Blaisdell [11:18]
Maybe Maybe we just got so good at it that we decided to retire at the top of our game. I don’t know, you’re like the Borg or something? No idea. No, I I’m sure I’m sure there’s been a lot of research done on that, you know, done on that. I think a lot of it really is what I was saying earlier, this, this, there’s this inertia, and there’s risk avoidance. So lots of times we think about habits as being you know, bad things like, Oh, I got a, you know, a cigarette smoking habit, or potentially something worse, what I know not, of course, not speaking about myself. But But habits can be good as well. And like, like work, like, you know, like going to the gym a few times a week or something like that. And so once people have done a certain activity, many times are frequently within within a relatively small amount of time. And I think that the the numbers like I don’t know, 30 to 50 times, it starts to become a habit. And then you start you got to start to feel feel bad when you’re when you’re when you’re not doing your habit. And so if you’re working out and you’re feeling bad, when you don’t work out, well, maybe that’s a good thing. Because you know, generally getting some exercise is probably good for your body. So I, you know, I maybe as as, as we age, we it’s just this we get used to, you know, doing the same thing, and the same thing and the same thing and branching out past that is something we don’t do. You know, I also think I mean, I’ll give you an example of something that I used to like to do a lot when I was a kid, it was it was build models, you know, and I’m an engineer by background, but specifically these radio controlled car models. And they were really fun. And they were very intricate, and there were a lot of parts. And when you put it together at the end, it actually, you know, you could drive it around, and it would actually work. And so there’s an example of something that I you know, I look back, and I don’t have as much fun as for it every once in a while I work on one, but there are there are elements of that activity that kind of translate to why I do what, you know what I do now, both career wise, you know, and for fun, so I may not be building radio control cars, but but back then when I was, you know, a kid in my parents house with a limited budget, I mean, you know, I I wasn’t out there how real building a building startups and I wouldn’t even know where to begin given, you know, given where I was coming from anyway. But so it could be that if we look at what we actually enjoyed about the activities that we were doing, when we were younger, we can draw the parallels the vectors through what we were doing, as we you know, as we move through our career. And so for me, now, I may not be building radio control cars, but I’m working with several startups. Which is, which is, you know, always always entertaining and, and I enjoy, I enjoy home renovation projects as well. So I you know, and once again, there’s a lot of moving parts, a lot of pieces, a lot of things to coordinate, and you know, and at the end, hopefully you get something that’s enjoyable, the journey is extremely important to it all. But at the end, the destination is worth it to a
David Ralph [14:19]
fundamental Oh, it totally makes sense because it’s what people miss out on. And we’ve done 1000s of episodes of Join Up Dots. And we always say as we will, at the end, join those dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build our futures. Look back on what life has given you the kind of passions, you know, I love things like jigsaw puzzles, I love treasure hunts. I love I just kind of love quizzes, I love all that kind of stuff. So when I’m talking to somebody, I’m fascinated about trying to join up the dots of their life and make sense of it. It’s just how my brain works. And so I’ve naturally transitioned into a thing has become hugely profitable, but basically does what I loved to do when I was a small child. Now, when you look at sort of online businesses and offline businesses and startups, is it too simplistic to say that people fail? Because they come up with an idea that’s too far removed from actually the experience that they’ve gained?
Geoff Blaisdell [15:25]
Ooh, I mean, that that’s a good question. And I think it, it depends. And that’s a little bit of a cop out. But let me let me explain it, I think that there are, have you ever heard the term of a person being T shaped with their skills and experiences? Right. So in you know, I’ll maybe I’ll talk more about that the Sermon on the mic later. But there’s this, this notion of being kind of broad, and across a number of different things. And then, and then, you know, being being deep and having deep skills. And so I think, depending on somewhere on a startup, and depending on a person’s role within that startup, how they would rate kind of broad versus deep or some combination is really important. So you might take, if you’re building some startup that’s based on a deep technical understanding of generative AI as an example, I’m assuming that you’re gonna have somebody on your team that really, really understands generative AI, they’re not, they’re not going to start from from from zero, most likely. And if that person wasn’t present, it certainly would raise a lot of questions at a minimum. But I think there’s some disciplines and skills and really, this is one of the one of the key points of things that I’m trying to do it beyond formation, I’m not, I’m not specific. My background is, broadly speaking, I do it and I can certainly help start startups get their IT environments up and running, talking them about information, security, cloud, whatever, all that stuff. But I’m really trying to pitch this this sort of broad understanding. So if you have the people that are these kinds of deep technical knowledge people, and then and then you have these people that are that are more breathless. So an example might be, and this is a very, I’m going through this with one of the startups I’m working with right now, you know, go to market, okay, so you could, you could have the best product in the world. And if you don’t, aren’t capable of figuring out how to get it in front of the people that are actually going to benefit from it, then it’s, you know, then it’s not going to, it’s not going to go anywhere. So to use this example, if, if I’m a deep, deep technical person, and and I believe I’ve, you know, built this incredible AI, that, that does not mean that I’m going to easily be able to get it in front of the right people who are going to be interested in using it or interested in giving me money for it. And so in that case, if I was that technical person, I’d want to team up with someone that really understands go to market. And I think that go to market, unlike deep technical skills are applicable broadly. Now, now, you could say that, if I’m going to go to market here in 2023, I probably need to have sets of skills that are relevant. Now and in you know, in probably historically too, but there there are new way to use social media as an example, this podcast as a as an example. But go to market maybe is one of those broader skills as opposed to a tech discipline. That’s, that’s deeper. So to kind of look at why startups fail and succeed. There, there are a lot of reasons. And you know, certainly one of them could be the one you indicated. I mean, I’ll tell you one of the biggest reasons that is what’s going on, because it’s gonna be a lot of contention around this one, it’s timing. And unfortunately, that’s not something that is, is easily chosen, right? If you look at the names, you know, name any big company that is important to the world, the world’s economy, entertainment, whatever the date, whether you’re, whether it’s apple, or Microsoft, or Google or Amazon or countless others. Like we all for the big ones, we all know the names of the people that are associated with those companies, and really not to take anything away from any of them. But if you if you kind of look into the circumstances, eventually someone would have come up with the same thing. It might not it might not have been those people but someone was going to do it. And why is that? Well, a confluence of events and timing and and things that had happened before ultimately led to this path where if it wasn’t going to be this year, maybe it would be in two years or five years or whatever, but at some point someone was going to create the semiconductor It was bound to happen the guys that did did it and they’re you know, geniuses and it’s amazing and the story is phenomenal. I read this book recently called chip war, which I highly recommend about about that whole semi the whole semiconductor industry in the history of it. But um, you know, it’s a timing issue for a lot Do these startups in how do you, you know, how do you how do you pick that I’m working with a startup right now we’re, we’re sort of challenged and struggling with timing. I feel like I’ve been rambling a little bit,
David Ralph [20:11]
well, let’s hear from Oprah. And then we’re gonna take the conversation in a different direction,
Oprah Winfrey [20:15]
the way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, oh, I got all of this. What is the next right move, and then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it. Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [20:46]
So I’m interested if I take your conversation leading up to that, and then Oprah, Oprah is basically saying, you know, be quiet, be methodical, think things through and do the next right thing. But you’re actually saying as well, but one of the key things is timing. And we haven’t got control of time, have we? How do we know what the right time is? Or a start up? Because we’ve 2020? Vision backwards? Ben? Yeah, it’s obvious. But how do you manage to do that going forward?
Geoff Blaisdell [21:20]
Oh, well, I mean, that is the rub, isn’t it? And I’m, I would, I would sort of postulate that there are many, many examples of startups that maybe most of them maybe predominantly that aren’t, aren’t, you know, aren’t thinking about timing is as much as, as they maybe could or should be, or that it’s completely out of their control. Let me so one of the startups I’m working with now, where we feel like timing is in our favour, I’ll just and once again, and even knowing the timing and being in the right place at the right time, right, these are, you might say there’s a degree of luck, or you know, or I prefer fortune to be in in the right place at the right time. But one sort of simple, straightforward example is, is, you know, being the second being second mover, or part of a wave of second movers. So an industry starts up, it gets spectacular amounts of attention, it gets spectacular amounts of money from investors, everyone thinks it’s a good idea. And a few years later, it’s burned through tremendous amounts of capital, the valuations are significantly down and people are liquidating assets. So if fundamentally, that industry or problem hasn’t gone away, and we don’t, we don’t, we don’t know exactly how it’s going to recover, or what it’s going to look like, just that we cannot believe that this product or this service won’t be required in the future, then then we’re kind of we’re, you know, we’re, we’re at, hopefully, at the beginning of the second wave, and now we’ve, we’ve gotten, we’ve got an opportunity to potentially be one of the movers in the second round, when we have the benefit of looking at what just happened in the first round. And you look at a lot of big technological inventions. And the peoples are the companies that we associate with creating them were not actually not the first people to market with them. They they were the people that came along and benefited from the work and the insights that were developed by the first person. And there are many famous examples, you know, like a lot of people think about the mouse, right? It’s like a tool that we use all the time. And I’ve been playing with computers for 40 plus years, and didn’t always have a mouse, of course, and the mouse is typically attributed to Apple. And that’s the first place I ever used the mouse was on an Apple Mac. And I believe in college. I think HP invented the mouse several years before that, and but only Hewlett Packard invented the mouse and nobody knows that. So, you know, Apple took a great idea improved on it, saw saw it for what it was and you know, mass marketed it and
David Ralph [24:05]
where this story isn’t there that Steve Jobs, went into a meeting with hp, and saw somebody with the mouse and then forgot all about the meeting and just ran back to the office and said, create this create this instantly. Now, it makes me think then, so if so many of the companies piggy back on the knowledge to success, the failures and stuff and we can look at like Google, I think Google was the 14th search engine, whatever. Facebook, you know, if you’ve watched a social network film, basically ripped off another company and did it. Why are we all waiting for that kind of unicorn to come along? Instead of just looking at really successful businesses and thinking, I do that in my local market that is already working? Is it because the brands are just so well known, but you’re not going to be able to battle them?
Geoff Blaisdell [24:59]
I mean, I think that there are there a couple of things come to mind when I, when when I sort of digest that. One is. One is that if you look at startups in general and huge percentage of them are, especially if the assist, the successful ones are improving an idea that already exists. So they may be taking a product or a service, and they’re just going to do a better job at it. And maybe they’re going to target a different market or some some other way of differentiating a demographic or something like that. But they’re just taking something that exists and does it better. And that’s whatever, let’s just say it’s, you know, 80%, or more of successful startups, and there’s no, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, the numbers would say that if you if being successful, however you define success, and that clearly is important. One of the things that companies should do right up front, but if it’s, you know, define what’s important to success, and it means you want a business that’s running and it can pay the bills and you’re happy. In theory, your best way to do that is to find what’s find some ideas that are already out there, companies that are already out there doing something similarly, where you think you can do a better job, for whatever reason, and go do that. It’s, it’s the companies that are really kind of trying to do something new or super new or unheard of, they have the likeliest chance of failure, but also when they hit, you know, the biggest upside as well. By by far, so if I was being completely unemotional, I would say, yeah, you want to do a startup, find some idea that you like, and that you think you can do better and, and go for it. And the the other thing that occurred to me when you were talking to us, and you know, I listened, I listened to one of your podcasts. And I think you and the guests were talking about imposter syndrome, or that what we would call impostor syndrome over here, this idea that we you know, I you know, of having doubt in oneself and Caden, I can’t, you know, I can’t i There’s no way I can do that. Or there’s so many people that are already doing it or whatever. And, and so what I would say to that is, you know, first of all, I, you know, many, many people have impostor syndrome, and generally people are their own harshest critic. So you know, that, that get that out there. But what I’ll also say is the numbers, just the sheer numbers. I mean, there could be 1 million people doing what I’m trying to do out there. 10 million, and at the end of the day, it Yeah, at some point, there’s so much opportunity out there. Yes. That and so much space that that
David Ralph [27:39]
sign again, Jeff, because I’ll be I’ll be
Geoff Blaisdell [27:43]
opportunity is so so much bass like you don’t you don’t have to be apple at what you do. You don’t you mean, you don’t have to have the largest market cap in the world at at what you do. There’s plenty of room for everybody. And it’s not I don’t think it’s I like to think it’s not a zero sum game. Like, I don’t think other people have to lose for for all of us to win. But you know, one thing, though, that I will say, and this really gets back to taking a risk putting yourself out there. And in many ways, things that I probably wish I had, I had done when I was earlier. But if you think about, about complacency, and how many of us get to a point in our lives, where we’re complacent and we don’t want to take risks. I like to think about when I you know, when I have a spare moment, think about like, what was it?
What like, what was it like,
at the dawn, the dawn of civilization, the dawn of our of Homo sapiens, or you know, that our our, our our oldest ancestors, I mean, they were, let’s see, let’s just say they had fire, there’s, you know, they’re sitting around the fire, they’re telling the stories are probably singing, they’re doing whatever they do, but they could have just done that forever. If there wasn’t someone or someone’s in those groups to say, there’s gotta be something more. There always has to be there are always those people right there. They’re always they’re the people that that move things forward. And so those are the what are they the 1%? The point 5%? I don’t know. But the people that are take willing to take huge risks. They believe tremendously in what they’re doing, to the point where they’ll leave it all on the field. And they’re advancing things for all of us in those way. And without those people Yeah, imagine, imagine kind of where we be.
David Ralph [29:23]
So when when you’re dealing with your clients, I’m always intrigued by the journey that goes on because there’s a certain amount of pushing. There’s a certain amount of encouragement, but there’s also a certain amount of, for God’s sake, just do the work. And so, do you feel like sometimes you’re pushing a boulder uphill? Or is the structure that you provide through beyond formation, the lubricant that allows people to make momentum when you’re not there?
Geoff Blaisdell [29:56]
Yes to all of that.
It is his simple is a simple answer. I mean, it’s it’s across the board and, and let’s be clear I’ve been I’ve been working with startups 100% of my time for the last three years, I have not seen at all. And if I do this, the rest of my life, I will not have seen at all. And I’m a to a okay with that. I think that
a lot of what
I believe in, and what beyond formation is about is really understanding what is necessary and needed for this business to be successful. And, and it is providing, and I’m trying to choose my words really carefully here are a really a structured approach to knowing what you need to do, figuring out how to prioritise that and moving forward with it. And so the ideal sir candidate firm candidate, found or to work with the information is, is someone who does believe that, that some amount of structure and organisation is necessary. And a big part of that, and a big part of everything in life, let’s face it, David is communications, right? Like if, if we can’t, if I’m working on a team, with a with a startup, and the startup has a bunch of people, if we don’t have an easy flowing way of, you know, understanding in general, where we all are at any given time, and can communicate that through some mechanisms, then it’s going to be difficult for us to be successful. So if you look at what we were doing it beyond formation, a lot of the structure we’re putting in place is really to ensure that communication is happening, whether that’s, and of course, there’s real work. I’m not, I’m not going to argue with that, and execution. But so much of the startups and just life in general is about appropriate, and consistent communications, everybody knows where everybody, everybody is, but maybe more specifically answered question. I think that yeah, there are some people out there that just are not, don’t do not really want to execute. And, and, and I think that that that certainly can can be frustrating throughout throughout my career, I’ve held roles where I’ve had a lot of execution roles, and then you know, and then back in it now. So I left a career where a lot of my job was strategy, building teams, personnel management. And, and I think one of the reasons why I moved away from that space was I did to some degree, want to kind of get back in the weeds and do the execution. So I think the the typical founder, if they haven’t, if they haven’t put together business before, if they don’t have a lot of money and a lot of other support on their team, they’re going to be in the weeds, and they’re going to need to be executing, and they’re going to need to, you know, to make decisions,
David Ralph [32:53]
I drive along. Yeah, I drive along Jeff through the British countryside, and you go into little towns and stuff. And they will have a little high street we build of shops. And generally I spend all my time saying to my wife, how does that survive? How, how many doughnuts does that little shop has to sell, to be able to you know, make a profit. And when you go in there, you realise that he’s the same person, it’s there from seven o’clock in the morning to eight o’clock at night, every single day. So I could go and knock on all of them and say, it’s not going to work. My it’s not going to work. Think of it in a different way. What happens when you get these people that coming along that are so passionate about the idea, they so think this is gonna be the big thing? But actually, when you hear it, you think it’s?
Geoff Blaisdell [33:49]
Yeah, that’s, I think, everybody, I don’t know that there are lots of bad ideas. I’m trying to be a little bit Well, none of them come to me. I will tell you that. No. I would I would tell somebody, honestly, if I felt like it was a bad idea. But generally, the I think that the types of people that would approach me through beyond formation are, are if are ones that like this is it’s not for everybody, I think a lot of a lot of startups are focused on, on product almost exclusively, and they’re going to spend all day in and they are in a mode where they need to get this product out. They need to get this product out. And a lot of the other kind of getting this structure around the business and paying attention to some of these other things that are going to help with investors are secondary, and those aren’t, those aren’t great fits. And I think if someone actually goes to the website reads what we’re about that it’s a pretty big filter for, for those for those types of people. I’ll also say that, you know, to some degree, it’s Still, it’s my opinion, I think more often, in your example, it would be a friend or an acquaintance, friend of a friend that I might get in touch with and talk through an idea. And in many cases, it’s it’s a, it comes down to some questioning. And, and and you know, with a few questions you can lots of times get people to see themselves or see their own AI their idea in a different light. And maybe it’s, it’s not the best thing. But I’ll also say, you know, just kind of just for the record, is that that, that, that you don’t need the most amazing product anyway. So so the I the the idea, let’s say if the product is the idea, that’s very important. But this idea of the kind of how do you how are we going to get it to market? Right?
David Ralph [35:54]
So that that is the big stumbling block? Isn’t it the get in the eyes? I feel, you know, I look at everything. And I remember when I started my first business, I kind of thought that it would naturally just happen, you you people would just find out about it. And funnily enough, I’ve recently bought a shop, a car spares accessory shop, and it’s been there 51 years, and I lose track of the amount of people that walk through the door because they never knew who was here, even though they just lived around the corner. So that sort of getting to market getting eyes on an idea and a business. Is it simply about throwing money at the problem? Or is it about and I’m specifically thinking about a small scale shop that hasn’t got a lot of marketing, creating some kind of marketing profile that that intrigues?
Geoff Blaisdell [36:53]
Yeah. And so I think it certainly depends on on the type of your business you’re doing. And honestly, a retail car parts shop, I, I know I have to smile. I live in a small town in Maine. And there were like five of these that I’ve probably never been into, I think I go into the one that happens to be closest to my house. And honestly, I can’t tell you what the name is. I think that’s probably a challenging, challenging scenario. I’ve been reading a book, or read a book recently called they ask you answer, and honestly, I forget Marcus, I forget the author’s name, and I’m sorry, if he ever hears about this. But he, he has a number of great examples in his book, and it’s all about what you know, what you’re talking about. How do you get? How do you get this business out in the in the public space? And, and a lot of it is exactly what the title says they ask you answer. Let you know, let clients know, the answers to the questions. They’re probably asking things as simple as putting prices on websites, and I put some prices on my website, they based on this book, I mean, and because you know, a lot like lit a lot of services out there, there are a lot of things and you know, you go somewhere and you’re wondering, Oh, what’s this going to cost me this guy’s probably really expensive or whatever, why not? Why not? Just be honest about that. Another example, in this in his book was talking about, you know, talking honestly, about the competition. Yeah, you know, you could come buy from us, but if you want other examples of people that are doing a good job, you know, here it is. And so I think that any new example of carparks thing, it’s, it’s really primarily a website, I mean, what I would think of is a website that, um, that that is less about inventory, maybe and although that’s always important and more about what I’m answering, you know, answering common questions, you
David Ralph [38:48]
know, I’ll tell you the biggest biggest, I’ve had Jeff, my shop Jeff did, and it’s so bloody simple. It’s untrue. All I did to turn the fortunes around and we’re doing really, really well now was yeah, I developed a very nice website and all the online traffic but only took me so far. And I was sitting there thinking what’s going to get people through the door, what’s going to get the foot flow. And as I was gazing out the window, looking at the cars going past at 40 miles an hour, I thought to myself, I bet those people whizzing past in their cars haven’t even noticed us because I’ve gone past at 40 miles an hour. So I went online and bought the biggest flag, which was so big, but when I first put it up outside the shop, I felt embarrassed for about three hours thinking it is a bit large, but just says a discount car parts here. Simple as that. And it sits about 25 feet higher. You can see it from both ends of the street. And we have seen our fortunes turned around just by simply putting a bloody big obvious statement right in front of people when they drive past
Geoff Blaisdell [40:00]
out to the power of direct advertising.
David Ralph [40:03]
Yeah. Who needs a business coach, when you can have that kind of marketing knowledge thrown in your direction? At 25 foot flag? You saw it. All right.
Geoff Blaisdell [40:15]
Now I need an office to put my beyond formation 20 foot flag?
David Ralph [40:19]
Yeah. And you kind of say what beyond formation is, that’s the key thing. You know, I looked at it and thought, Should I have the name of the business? And I thought, No, I’m just gonna say exactly what the business does nothing more. And so it’s just a red flag with white words on that says discount car parts here. And we’ve seen We’ve seen something like a 60% increase in our profits since we pull it up.
Geoff Blaisdell [40:44]
What Why car parts?
Just curiosity, is that is that a hobby?
David Ralph [40:48]
No, it’s not it was a family business, the family got old and sold the business, the owner that bought it wasn’t doing very well with it, I looked at it and thought I could turn this around, I could turn this around, not really be that involved in it, have a nice little income. And then I own the profits, the business and everything at the end of it. And so that’s what I did. It was it was it was it was Jeff, honestly, I am an entrepreneur that spends a lot of time on his own. And I started to find myself a bit depressed and isolated. So I thought to myself, I need to see people. And it was a it was a simple kind of, it gives me a chance to get out of where I work, go to a different location, turn a radio on, deal with customers, you know, and I do it maybe one afternoon a week, if I fancy it, I hardly ever have to go down there. But it was just about whenever I fancy getting away from Join Up Dots and all the online stuff, I go and do that. And it’s been a real game changer for everything else. Because when you’re interacting with people, and I think that’s a lot of the problem. And that’s what you touched on about communication. I think when you sit behind a computer screen all the time, fundamentally, you’re losing communication skills.
Geoff Blaisdell [42:07]
Yeah, absolutely. And I like that. I mean, I’m assuming you don’t have a career of prior history and car parts. So I’m guessing you you’ve been learning a lot. Yeah. In owning this company. And if you believe if we believe if we believe what we read the you know, doing new things, keeps, keeps your brain working, keeps you healthy, whole bunch of other benefits. Plus, it’s fun. That’s,
David Ralph [42:32]
yeah, well, when you can start something that feels like a hobby, and not a grind. You know, it was something that had to be there all the time, oh, God, another day down here. But just when I think to myself, Oh, I’m a bit bored with doing this, I’d go and do that today. And I never tell the staff when I’m going. So I just turn up unexpectedly, so that I can then spot check certain things, you know, but yeah, it’s a it’s been a good thing to do. But um, I’m going to play the words of Steve Jobs. And then we’re going to find out how you got to where you are, of course,
Speaker 5 [43:04]
it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [43:39]
So that speech generally leads us to the end of the show. And it’s the question that I’ve been asking quite a few guests. Do you think that your dots naturally joined up? Or did they only join up because you forced them to join up? Did you think back if you just sat back? Would you still be in the same position today?
Geoff Blaisdell [44:01]
i It’s a great question. And I I would say that
that for a period of time.
significant events that many people, most people go through in their lives, things like leaving home, in this case for college, the first big corporate job, getting married, having kids like the weather, whether we view those, how we view those doesn’t doesn’t matter as much as the fact that those are big dots. For most people, and so I would say that a lot of that was was not for us, I don’t want to I don’t want to say passive because because I believe in, in agency and and and I can look back at some T career decisions and geographical decisions that sort of forced or pushed, push the trajectory to the dot So they wanted. But I think that now, in looking at the last three years, the, the number of say big, big life changes big decisions. I’m trying to think of this like, like an engineer, if we were to plot dots by magnitude on some scale over time, there would be a lot more big dots recently, in the last few years than there were in the previous 20. And I think I don’t I don’t know if that’s typical. Honestly, I would I like to think it’s, it’s, it’s a typical. I’ve probably, therefore, in the last few years, maybe been feeling like forcing a little bit more of those connections. But, you know, to Steve’s point, if 10 years from now, I might look back at this and say the same thing that I’m saying now about 30 years ago, right, and the benefit of hindsight, but Right, right now, I would answer your question and just say, the last few years, it seems like I’ve been pushing towards these thoughts. And, and once again, to overcome some of that inertia, I could have stayed in a corporate job for, for until retirement and other whatever, another 10 years, and, and I liked the job enough. But um, but I pushed myself to try something new. And, and you know, I couldn’t tell you now. I mean, maybe, maybe I will go back to corporate 10 years down the road, who knows why I have no
David Ralph [46:26]
you won’t, I promise. You on a Tuesday afternoon can be sitting there watching the young ones and going, this is really rubbish. This is really rubbish. And nobody’s in control of your time. You can’t go back.
Geoff Blaisdell [46:43]
All right, fair enough. Yeah,
David Ralph [46:46]
I couldn’t go back. I just know it. Even if I got to the point of, you know, having to be a prostitute or something. I couldn’t go back to being told to be at a desk and having meetings, but I’m not interested in and lunchtime at 12. When you have to ask if you can have a one Oh, that those restrictions, I couldn’t do it
Geoff Blaisdell [47:06]
the way you’re describing it.
To do that either.
David Ralph [47:10]
By maybe I worked in a place for many years. But that certainly was my experience. It was, you know, he sent me straight. Everything had to be restricted. But um, what we want to do now is give you the opportunity to set your youngest selves live straight on the pace of the show that we call the Sermon on the mic, when you get the chance to go back in time, speak to the young Jeff, and share some of your own dots that could well turn into stepping stones as he’s lived moves forward. So we’re gonna find out what you’re gonna be because I’m gonna play the music. And when it fades, is your time to share. This is the Sermon on the mic
Justin Cooke Empire Flippers [47:51]
here we go with the best bit of the show the Sermon on the mind, the sermon on
Geoff Blaisdell [48:11]
younger self. Let’s see, I’m speaking to you, I’m 56 It’s 2023 you are about to set off to college. So you probably like 18 or so in 1985?
What would I tell you? Well, I would tell you to take more risks,
especially earlier and in your career, and then not saying necessarily what those risks are. But when you if you find yourself thinking you can’t do it, or you shouldn’t do it, maybe do it instead, and see how that goes.
You’re not always write.
And as you get older, you’ll the world and will get bigger and you’ll realise you know, less and less, and that’s natural. The sooner you figure that out, the more beneficial it’ll be along with not taking more risks and just even keep learning in general. Research shows that by the time we’re in our 30s we don’t do a lot of new things or think a lot of new things and and you know, get ahead of that I can tell you now that you don’t really have an issue with that. But but but started earlier than you did later. Diversify, also related to learning. You’re spending a lot of time really into technology and computers and engineering and you should continue that and you’re good at it. But pay attention more to some other things, maybe our culture, read some different genres and some of these others technology’s haven’t been invented yet. Spend time understanding more about the world, take time off work to travel more. Because you’ll have kids sooner than you know it, and they’ll be wonderful. And you’ll have a lot of great times with them. But get some of these things out of the way before then. Try to be broad, as well as deep. This notion of a tea. You enjoy engineering and math, science in physics, and you’re really good at it. And you’re going to build a career that is founded on those disciplines, but they’re not the only things that are out there. And later in your life, you’ll definitely broaden. But do that sooner rather than later. get interested in culture and politics and the world around you. Pay more attention to other occupations, other people who do different things that your work, you’ll be living in one of the best cities, New York City in the World shortly, take advantage of all that that has to offer, as well. And ultimately, this all comes down to having an open mind trying new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. And in always pick yourself up when you do but we don’t You don’t learn without failing. And it’s far as a quote goes, when it’s been on my mind recently is I’m working through some some some startup stuff. If you’re going through hell keep going. Winston Churchill.
David Ralph [51:57]
All right. Perfect Words. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, Jeff?
Geoff Blaisdell [52:05]
Check out my website beyond formation.com.
David Ralph [52:11]
No, that was simple. Do you know when when I asked for one people normally give me about 25. But you aren’t. You’re a man of structure. So if I say one is going to be one. So Jeff, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And when you’ve got more dots to join up, because I believe that by joining the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Jeff, thank you so much. Looking forward. Thanks. Mr. Jeff Bleasdale. So yeah, taking risks, getting your property and your business out to market getting eyes on it. But the key thing to that episode was, you don’t have to come up with something new and sexy. Just do what somebody else is doing. And bring it smaller. There’s enough customers out there. And it’s a real eye opener to me, how are so many people are trying to think of some new idea, just do what’s already been done successfully, and just put your own spin on it. It’s so easy to do. And we’re here to help you in any way we can at Join Up Dots, of course. But the main thing that you can do is you could jump over to iTunes, I never ask this, leave some ratings and reviews that would be good and I can see what you think of the show or what not just stay silently in the background and show us your ears and we will be here soon. with another episode of Join Up Dots. See you again soon. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye.
That’s the end of Join Up Dots. You heard the conversation. Now it’s time for you to start taking massive action. Create your future create your life. Busy only you live. God. We’ll be back again. We’ll see. Join Up Dots join the gods Join Up Dots. Gods Jolina Join Up Dots